Sunday, October 20, 2013

Now Playing: Gravity

(Third of three very short catch-up reviews.  Which isn’t really fair, because this is a movie I could talk about.  A lot.)

I'm going to admit this: I wasn't sold on Gravity via its trailers.  Every trailer seemed to be advertising a different movie.  But I was intrigued by the effects and the theme of Lost in Space, so I was in.

Is it Drama, SciFi, Action, Thriller, Mainstream/Indie, or just an experiment in cool special effects tricks...  turns out?  All of the above.  Sandra Bullock – honestly, is there anything this woman can’t act?  Even in really bad movies, she comes out on top.  And this is not a really bad movie.  In fact, it’s a really really good movie.  With a cast of only FIVE people, the script relies on you, the audience, being able to get up close and personal with Bullock (and to some extent, former-nemesis and newfound love, George Clooney) without being completely turned off by them.  So close, that any cracks in their acting would show up in spotlights… but none did.

And the effects? Holy heck – they were so real, I actually forgot they weren’t shooting in space.  Which is, you know, impossible.  That last scene?  Stellar.  Go watch it.  Take your parents.  You’ll all enjoy it.  4.5 out of 5 stars.

Edit: this is awesome - 

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Last month, I got to scratch TWO items off my travel bucket list: touching the southern-most inhabited point in Canada and driving the world’s longest road (albeit, this fact is contested).  All this because we cancelled our Egypt trip. …wait, I didn’t tell you we cancelled?  Or that we were even going?  Boy, I have been away.  Let’s get caught up.

(Egypt: we booked this last December, when it was cheap and everything relatively quiet.  Egypt has been a military dictatorship for a long time and the Arab Spring just seemed to be another bump in its turbulent history.  Fast forward to August (14th, specifically) and we balked.  A thousand people dead?  Trains cancelled?  Closing of the Pyramids?  Why even GO to Egypt at that point.  So, we cashed in our travel insurance and stayed in (nice, safe) North America.)

West Dock
Pelee Island: Our first stop for two nights.  It was everything I thought it would be and then some.  Small enough to circumnavigate (by car) in about two hours and friendly as all heck, we had a great time there.  Fabulous sunsets, delicious local wine, and even the crippling walk to Fish Point were real highlights.  It has really become a competitive spot for my retirement plans (displacing the established frontrunner, Stratford).  Of course, we’ll have to return a few times to make sure the enchantment doesn’t fade, but there you have it.  We left reluctantly.

A quick dart through the US to get us back to Ontario.  Lowlights include: Scary Gary, Indiana.  I have never been so uncomfortable in a first-world country in my life.  Terrible.  And so very sad.  Chicago traffic… ugh.  But the sunset drive into Minneapolis almost made up for it all.

Rainy River
Yonge Street: used to be known as the longest road in the world.  The stupid Ontario Highways Act stripped that title on a technicality.  It’s still the longest contiguous road (not highway).
- Rainy River: km-marker 1896.  The water wasn’t drinkable, but the motel was cute and the service was good.
- Day-long drive to Thunder Bay: two nights in TBay, a surprisingly large city (108,000 people!) where amethyst is so plentiful they give it away (literally, our B&B hosts just hauled out a buckets and told us to take a piece). Sleeping Giant National Park, Terry Fox Memorial, and delicious well water – what a great stop.
- Kapuskasing/Moonbeam: a halfway stop to our next destination.  We went there for the strange lights.  It was so dead dark, we played the “where’s my hand game” and marvelled at the amazing stars.  Thankfully GiPpS was lit up, or we may have lost our black beast of a car (Bruce… or BRWS).
North Bay, Sunset Inn Dock
- North Bay: a surprisingly beautiful spot that was so typical cottage country, every picture looked like a CanLit book cover.  It truly tugged at my heartstrings and was poignant enough to displace Turtle Bay from my iPhone.
- Queen’s Quay: km-marker 0.  The last 23 kms took as long as the previous 323 to cover.  But we made it.  Plaques were climbed; pictures were taken; plaid shirts were worn proudly.  We got home in one piece, exhausted but happy.

Ontario is one beautiful province.  I think I forget, living in the Golden Horseshoe, just how gorgeous this land of many lakes can be and how welcoming its people are.  Alberta has the Rockies, BC has the Pacific, Maritimes have the Atlantic, Yukon has Kluane, NWT has Northern Lights, Nunavut has polar bears and Quebec… well, Quebec has a je-ne-sais-quoi.  Ontario?  Ontario is what Canada is all about: loons, beavers, moose, lakes, rivers, pristine beauty and friendly people.   Come visit.
just around the bend

Friday, October 18, 2013

Now Playing: Prisoners

(Second of three very short catch-up reviews. )

I have to say, I'm pretty intrigued by anything Hugh Jackman does; and, I love a good mystery-thriller.  enter: Prisoners.

You know who always surprises me?  Paul Dano.  That guy can act.  I can’t think of anyone else who could, in equal parts, stir up sympathy and disgust so intensely.  Gyllenhaal, Jackman, and Leo are all their usual superb selves.  The movie is tight, gripping, intense and, at some points, too real.  Creepiest line?  “They didn’t cry until I left them.”  And no, that's not even a spoiler.  Jebus.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Now Playing: Riddick

(In the first of three very short catch-up reviews).

Boyfriend veto was played: we went to see Riddick.

Oh, Vin Diesel.  You got into two franchises that should have died and yet, here you are.

It was an okay movie.  I wasn’t too thrilled about watching it and frankly I barely sat through its two predecessors.  I didn’t even play its video games… did these movies have books?  If they did, I clearly didn’t read them.  I had low expectations and the movie met them.  Not even fair to rate it, really. 2 out of 5 stars.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I'm sorry.  I have been completely terrible about upkeeping my corner of cyberspace.  I have at least three movie reviews, four Great Lakes posts, and a work update.  Jeepers.  I promise to try and catch up before the month is out.  Poppets, forgive me.

Enjoy this in my stead.  it has brought me hours and hours of joy.  Thanks Oatmeal: